Effect of something you have taken which could affect whether you are fit to drive
Prescriptions / shop bought drugs – recreational / illegal drugs – alcohol
I’m sure most of us recognise the fact that some of the drugs the Doctor gives us we should not drive while we are taking them. If we are not sure we can always ask the pharmacist. How many of us realise that some of the drugs we buy over the counter like cough mixture or pain killers can also affect us & make us sleepy which can results in us having an accident. We should always look at the labels of the product to make sure it is safe to take if we are intending to drive.
However there are the Recreation Drugs which are also not sold in the shops that people take to give them a boost a high or some other form of pleasure these tend to be illegal & should not be taken or used on any account while driving. They might not seem to affect us but medical data show they do have an effect on us & most of them are illegal so if you are stopped while using them the police can enforce fines & prison sentences on you depending on the severity of what happened when you were stopped.
There are also drivers which seem to be accepted more readily but they are taking a drug which affects their driving Alcohol. I know the law says you can have a curtain amount of alcohol in your blood or on your breath. But the overall affect is that it will have an effect on your driving. So I would strongly advise the policy of no alcohol if you are planning to drive.
Effect of personal well being and are you fit to drive– short term or long term effect (physical condition, cold, fever sight medical difficulties such as bad back or loss of a limb) can you as being fit to drive
Eyesight you must be able to read a number plate (with glasses or contact lenses if you need to wear them) with letters of 79.4mm (3.1 inches) at a distance of 20.5 meters (67 feet).
If you are planning on going for a drive it is worth bearing in mind that your physical or mental wellbeing can have an effect on our driving. For example if you have a cold we recognise our thinking can become “woolly” so resulting in possibly creating an accident because we did not react fast enough. Some people like me have to wear glasses if we have the wrong prescription we might not see problems & also cause accidents. Unfortunately some of the more severe medical can affect our driving especially if they involve the use of drugs to treat the condition
Emotional state – had an argument, in a rush to go somewhere are you fit to drive
These problems I would call physical problems however there can be mental problems that can lead to accidents for example we are running late for an appointment so we are rushing & are not concentration on driving properly as a result get involved in an accident. Another problem could be the fact we have had an argument with someone or are going to have an argument with someone. This can lead to us being distracted & not concentrating on our driving. I know this is not in itself a reason not to drive but needs to be considered & dealt with while driving. An idea would be to give yourself more time to get to your destination so you can give yourself time to concentrate of the dangers of driving rather than the other problems you have on your mind. It is always better to be a few minutes late rather than not get there at all because you were not concentrating.
Tiredness – lack of sleep reduces ability to make decisions correctly and safely
Another consideration about driving is the problem of Tiredness this can creep up on us while driving or we are tired before we get into the car.However will you be fit to drive
There are several methods to give SHORT TERM relief the best treatment is sleep.
Facts you should know about excessive sleepiness/tiredness and driving
• There is no excuse for falling asleep at the wheel and it is not an excuse in law.
• Up to one fifth of accidents on motorways and other monotonous types of roads may be caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
• 18 – 30 year old males are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel when driving late at night.
• Modern lifestyles such as early morning starts, shift work, late night socialising, often lead to excessive tiredness by preventing adequate rest.
• All drivers who fall asleep at the wheel have a degree of warning.
• Natural sleepiness/tiredness occurs after eating a large meal.
• Changes in body rhythm produce a natural increased tendency to sleep at two parts of the day:-
• Midnight – 6am
• 2pm – 4pm
• Although no one should drink and drive at any time, alcohol consumed in the afternoon maybe twice as potent in terms of producing sleepiness and driving impairment as the same amount taken in the evening?
• Prescribed or over-the-counter medication can cause sleepiness as a side effect. Always check the label, if you intend to drive
Before you start your journey is your car fit to drive
• Plan your journey to include a 15 minute break every two hours of driving
• Make sure you are fit to drive: have a good night’s sleep before setting out on a long journey
• Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start your trip, or have a long drive home after a full day’s work
• Avoid making long trips between midnight-6am and 2-4pm when natural alertness is low
• Even a small amount of alcohol, some medicines and drugs can make you drowsy and you’re in danger of falling asleep at the wheel.
When you are on your journey:
• Take a 15 minute break every two hours of driving
• Share the driving if possible
• If you start to feel sleepy find a safe place to stop (not the hard shoulder of a motorway) as soon as possible
• Ideally you need a proper sleep but an effective emergency countermeasure to help you get to a safe place where you can get proper sleep is the combination of two cups of strong coffee or high caffeine drink and a nap. Caffeine takes about 20 minutes to take effect. This is time for a short nap. This countermeasure should allow you to continue driving but only for a short time. You do not fall asleep suddenly without any warning. If you are yawning or having difficulty concentrating you are at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. The only cure is to sleep. Opening the window for fresh air, turning up the radio or taking exercise will do little to prevent you from falling asleep.
Don’t leave it until it is too late
Difficulty keeping your eyes open, your head nodding and your vehicle drifting out of lane are not warning signs of tiredness; they are symptoms of a micro sleep. You need to stop long before you get to this point you might not be fit to drive. A more reliable early warning of tiredness is repeated yawning. When this starts you will need to get off the road and find somewhere to sleep properly. The only real cure for sleepiness is proper sleep. A caffeine drink and a 20 minute nap is a short-term solution only. It cannot be repeated over a long period. If you fall asleep at the wheel you risk killing yourself, your passengers and other innocent victims. Every year to avoid driving tired please read the tips below to ensure you have a safe journey.
This is something that people tend not to consider when driving. We think we MUST do something regardless of the consequences. If the consequence could result in you having an accident or even killing someone. Would it not be worth thinking about what you could do to prevent this happening?
For instance change the medication, or give yourself time to calm down after an argument or stop for a few minutes to calm down before driving again after you have become over stressed?
Try not to use illegal drugs or drink before driving as this will impair your ability to drive. If you are tired consider having a sleep before driving or drive the following day. I know that this might not be possible but I am trying to give you the heads up as to how things can affect your driving & how you could possibly become a safer driver by taking these ideas into consideration.
Old and Disabled
(HC 216) Remember that the old and disabled are likely to be slower in reacting to different road situation make allow for them fit to drive